It's not often we see a machine that comes close to its published speed figures, but the MFC-8380DN, which is rated at 30ppm, produced a speed of 15.79ppm on our five-page test document and an impressive 25.00ppm on the 20-page test. This is not at all bad for a small-business device and the duplex speed is also good at 12.77 sides per minute. For most day-to-day work, you could print double-sided and still not be waiting for jobs to finish.
Copy speeds are also very good, with a single page copy from the flatbed glass taking just 10 seconds and a five-page copy from the ADF coming in at an even faster - per page - 22 seconds. We also tried a 20-side duplex copy and this completed in 1:43, which is again a very acceptable speed for office use. This is a very handy little photocopier.
All this speed doesn't mean a drop in print quality, either. A default resolution of 600dpi is enough to produce crisp, clear text - not as heavy as from some of its rivals - and well-controlled greyscales for business graphics. There are few signs of banding in these grey fills and there are enough grey levels to reproduce a good variety of colours with corresponding tones.
Even photo prints come through reasonably, again with no sign of banding, but with some overemphasis of dark shades, so shadow detail can tend to black. The printer's maximum resolution of 1,200dpi stands it in good stead here.
As mentioned, there are two consumables in the MFC-8380DN, the toner cartridge and the drum unit that it clips into. The toner cartridge is available in capacities of 3,000 and 8,000 pages and using the higher yield product gives a cost per ISO page of 2.4p, including 0.7p for paper. This is a low cost, which helps to offset the apparently high purchase price of the machine itself.
Although the MFC-8380DN may appear expensive at first sight, Brother has got the mix right and has produced a multifunction with comparatively high speed in both simplex and duplex print and useful extra features, such as duplex copying. Print quality is, as usual, very good and this machine is an excellent complement to a busy small office or workgroup.